Tag Archives: haibun

‘Solace’ in Open: Journal of Arts and Letters

“Three Vertical Landscapes” by Wiiliam Tillyer

Solace (Triptych)

In a dark wood . . .

Heaving streets, bulging with holiday shoppers. Shop windows in garish colours blink their version of hell. As soon as I get the present I came for, I head for home.

Running for the bus, I bump into someone, or he bumps into me. The double-decker reeks of wet clothes. A young woman, clutching her baby close to her chest, is arguing with the bus driver who refuses to let her on without a ticket.

We stay put for a good thirty minutes, until a passenger, with a shaking hand, taps his debit card on the card reader and pays the fare for her.

the baby babbles . . .
raindrops on
the bus window

and without props

It hasn’t rained for weeks. The two workmen in my back garden, digging the foundations for a cat enclosure, sound industrious. There is a young apple tree standing right in the middle of it, and I have instructed them to shorten its branches so that it can be contained within the structure. I imagine my two cats spending happy hours climbing it, perching on its branches. But when I look outside, I see the tree is missing. I am told it was taking too much space and they decided to remove it for me, at no extra cost.

short shrift
the town crier’s
hoarse voice

against freezing

I own five hot water bottles. As you might have guessed, I feel the cold more than others. When I place these hot, felt-wrapped receptacles on my coldest parts, I experience the bliss others must take for granted.

clang of a spade
I imagine the workmen
striking gold

In Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, 25 Feb 2019 h

and check out the whole journal: a rich and rewarding read!

‘Seriously’ in Open: Journal of Arts and Letters

“Spitalfield” by William Tillyer

The shelves in the beauty aisle are piled high with hand creams. Tubes, jars, bottles, tins of brands I never knew existed. So many! I stand here for a while, wondering whether this abundance could be attributed to the forthcoming Brexit. After all, all sorts of strange events in the last couple of years have been attributed to it. I imagine that both remainers and leavers would need a cream to soothe their hands after clapping for one or the other speaker; after rubbing their eyes in disbelief on reading the daily news or covering their ears for hours in the gesture perfectly captured by Munch’s “The Scream.” Could this be it?

late winter
the street dog’s sad
whimper

In Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, 25 Feb 2019, Mixed forms: Haibun

‘Absences’ in Unbroken Journal

cemetery

The ossuary, a white-washed, rectangular building, is dark and cool. A musty smell envelops me as I enter. I am searching for the metal box containing my mother’s bones.

I’ve been told she is confined to one on the shelves that run the length of the room. I start searching methodically. Each box has a small hand-written label with the deceased’s name on its front. Several labels are blank. One has a dried daisy flower stuck on it with Sellotape; another, a star in cross stitch; yet another, a tiny motorcycle sticker. Photographs of the dead looking youthful are taped to several boxes, or placed next to them, complicating identification of the containers’ occupants.

Disheartened, I leave the grim building to walk in the dappled shade of the graveyard. The hum of the city mixes with birdsong. So many years since I was in Athens. I stop to read the names of the deceased on headstones, marvel at the stone angels, at the oil lamps. Soon my head is swimming. A woman burning sweet-smelling incense over a grave turns to look at me. I quickly look away, but then, returning her gaze, I nod and she smiles.

noon heat
a hairline crack
in the angel’s wing

In Unbroken Journal, issue 20, 2019

Haibun Triptych

Reality Bites

In my teens I spent school holidays in the local library. From opening to closing time, the library was my home. In the sizzling Athenian summers, it was the only cool place to be. The silence in the reading room felt like a blessing. Sitting at my desk I listened. A page turned. Someone shifted in their chair. Someone sighed. Silence again. I revelled in the sounds of human presence in this magic emptiness. A paradise. Except one day, when a cicada started singing. Having found its way in, it perched on Borges’s “The Book of Sand.” Heads turned. There was a commotion. A reader screamed, “Get this thing out of here!” The librarian, arm raised, raced to the shelf to swat the culprit, but the insect was no longer there.

turning the page
I come across the truth …
midsummer darkness

And yet

The road twists and turns for miles ahead. The refugee caravan moves haltingly forward. Mothers carrying their babies; dazed children, old people, the young, all stagger towards a safer future. Crossing the Red Sea, walking through deserts, wading across the Suchiate River, the caravan camps at Calais, rests for a night on Lesvos, repopulates the Sicilian city of Sutera, rows across river Evros. Razor wire carves memories on children’s skin. A voice over the megaphone: “Achtung, Achtung!” Babies are born, grow teeth, learn to speak. It rains, it snows, it shines. New words enter dictionaries. Poems emerge from sleeping bags.

each spring
breaking through the soil . . .
the human heart

We carry on

We turn out the lights, fall asleep and emerge head first into the real world. Belief, disbelief, nuance, knowledge; science, art, even poetry we leave behind. We enter this eternal world without walls, where we have control over nothing, yet we are nothing less than the seed of the cosmos. Here is our true home: fluid, quiet, boundless.

In the morning, once the alarm clock’s trill drags us back into consciousness, we dress in soft flesh, teeth and nails, and catch the bus to work.

oak leaves …
planning to live past
one hundred

boat,

In Blue Fifth Review, The Blue Collection 9: Home

Image: ‘Boat’ by Maria Pierides

Haibun Triptych in Blue Fifth Review: The Blue Collection 9

Grateful thanks to Michelle Elvy and Sam Rasnake for publishing my Haibun Triptych in the special issue “The blue collection 9: Home” of the phenomenal Blue Fifth Review!
Photo magic “Boat” by Maria Pierides accompanies the triptych.
Check it out:
Blue Fifth Review … the blue collection: 9: home (Winter 2018 / 18.10)

Boat,Haibun Triptych "Home"

‘Boundaries’ in Blithe Spirit

The main course is boiled beef with green beans, mushrooms, and sautee potatoes. A typical dish in this part of the world. What is atypical is the sauce that accompanies it. Unlike the horseradish recipes that make your nostrils flare, this delicate sauce introduces a surprisingly mature interpretation that sings to rather than stings the palate. My neighbour has chosen condiments that balance the flavours to perfection. I can feel the character of the well-tempered sauce on my tongue. No excess. No diversions. Clear limits. Boundaries.

noticing
the rose after the rain starts –
petrichor

In Blithe Spirit 28.3, 2018

Review of ‘Of This World’ in Frogpond (41.3)

Delighted and honoured to read Vanessa Proctor’s generous and thoughtful review of my book, published in Frogpond 41.3, Fall 2018, p. 139), the journal of the Haiku Society of America! Please read PDF by clicking the link below…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… sp-frogpond-rev ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………….Available from Red Moon Press and Amazon
Of This World, Pierides,haibun,

‘Of This World’ HSA Award, Judges’ Comments

So pleased to have received an Honourable Mention in the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Awards! I announced the news earlier this year here. The Judges’ comments appeared in the latest issue of Frogpond, the Society’s Journal (41.3, Fall 2018, p. 119). 
This is what they say:

In this fine haibun collection, Pierides addresses a wide variety of subject matter as she moves fluidly between tones—-philosophical, heart-wrenching, ironic, humorous. Some of the prose is conventional and some highly experimental; likewise the haiku (a frog jumps in / intertextuality / for beginners). No matter how short or light-hearted, none of the pieces feel slight, and the variety is delightful.

Many thanks to Judges Melissa Allen and Brad Bennett!

Of This World,haibun,

Available from Red Moon Press and Amazon.

‘Of This World,’ receives HSA Merit Book Award (books published 2017)

Delighted to announce that my book Of This World (Red Moon Press) was awarded a merit book honorable mention in the Haibun category by the Haiku Society of America! 

HSA Merit Books Award

Heartfelt thanks to Michelle Elvy, Jim Kacian, Clare MacQueen and Johannes S. H. Bjerg for their help and support with bringing this book to life.

While waiting for the judges comments and public announcement by the Society, here is more information and praise for the book:

Of This World

Stella Pierides has cultivated a terse, idiosyncratic style in her haibun that is instantly recognizable, and as a consequence is one of the shining lights of this burgeoning genre. Of This World certainly is, but it also takes us out of the world at large and into private spaces we feel privileged to witness. A unique and satisfying read.

 

Red Moon Press
Amazon Europe
Amazon UK

I am grateful for the generous comments:

This is how it’s done! Stella Pierides — in a hushed voice — takes me through what it is to be human — and part of the human history from the roots of Western culture in Diogenes’ tub to the ‘modern’ human — with all the questions and doubts, the uncertainties that come from that.

— Johannes S. H. Bjerg, Writer

Of This World’s marvelous, emotionally resonant haibun are steeped in the grace of the garden, rooted in a physical reality so sensuous that you can smell the fragrance of baking bread, of olives and garlic, of lemon and magnolia blossoms — and yet they also spiral on the updraft of metaphor as poet Stella Pierides ‘put[s] our hearts in the shoes of the hummingbird.’

— Clare MacQueen, Editor-in-Chief, KYSO Flash

A treasure trove of language and image. Pierides walks through dark streets of history, through alleyways of memory – emerging in shiny, unexpected places. Compact, urgent and closely observant, these minute offerings will captivate readers of both poetry and short fiction. An enormously engaging collection.

— Michelle Elvy, Writer and Editor

*
Of This World
ISBN: 978-1-936848-80-5
Pages: 124
Size: 6″ x 9″
Binding: perfect softbound

‘In Good Company’ in Frogpond 41:1

Frogpond JournalI am filling out the form with a trembling hand. I am gripping the pen a bit harder than usual and the letters look tense and angular. Why? I am opting out of organ donation. As simple as that. I am not donating my eyes to anyone. And when it comes to my heart, I want to have a say in who receives it.

 

 

late autumn—

aboard the last boat

home

*

Frogpond 41:1

#The100DayProject

Having read Dorothee Lang’s blog post on the #The100DayProject, I am tempted to take part. I will have to choose a theme and create something daily, for 100 days on it, posting the result on Instagram.

#The100DayProject, #100daysnewthingsA  couple of problems: I didn’t want to join yet another social media channel, and have only a few days to find a theme to focus on for the project starting on the 3 of April. And how could I possibly find the time? For these reasons, and many more, I decided to . . . give it a go.

I am settling on 100 days of finding new, to me, things. Of opening up to new ideas, other ways of thinking, other people; expanding my horizons! And I’ve just signed up on #Instagram. I will be using my iPad to post. Daily hashtags: #The100DayProject #100daysnewthings #poetsofinstagram

Each day, I’ll be searching for, finding and posting something new to me. It may not be new to you, but to me, it may be an epiphany. ‘It’ may be an interesting quotation, a piece of information, a discovery or re-discovery, a haiku or other poem or text I discover in me, a photo of something I hadn’t noticed before…you get the gist.

Thank you Dorothee for the inspiration and encouragement!

‘Lullaby’ in Wales Haiku Journal

It’s at its loudest in the early morning hours. Before light dissolves darkness, before the neighbour leaves for work, before the birds start singing, his laboured breathing comes over the baby monitor whispering, gurgling, rattling, spluttering…

I lie awake listening to the crack of thunder, the roaring waterfall, the sounds of the sea emitted from his chest. A car starting, the exhaust backfiring, the train leaving station. The boat reversing in the harbour. Light rain. A soft mieow. His breathing renders a whole world. In this soundscape, I make out the stories he told me when years ago he put me to bed.

Soon, light dispels the apparitions, and his breath comes over the monitor soft, steady, regular, lulling me to sleep.

music of the spheres
how we became
human

*

In the inaugural issue of Wales Haiku Journal, Spring 2018

The British Haiku Society Awards 2017

Congratulations to the winners! The results of the British Haiku Society Awards 2017 are out!

British Haiku Society

I am honoured to have been asked to serve as a judge in the ‘Ken and Noragh Jones Haibun Awards.’ And very much enjoyed reading all the wonderful  entries.

The results and reports by all sections’ judges  can be viewed at the Society’s website (for haibun, please scroll down), and will also be published in Blithe Spirit, the Society’s Journal.

A big thank you to the Society for entrusting me with this task, and to all those who sent in their entries.

A Walk Through the Cypress Grove

We die alone. We disembark on the Isle of the Dead with our heads filled with illusions. Vague memories of loves and hurts, envy and resentments. Perhaps holding hands with those who still can bear us, but alone with our regrets. Turning around for a last look, our eyes, swimming with sadness, rest on the ramshackle boats we leave behind.

white light beyond the crucible

*

In Modern Haiku, 49:1, 2018

snow,haibun,

The Surface of Things

haibun On its 50th anniversary, the Museum received a gift towards establishing a Collection of Lost Words. The three curators entrusted with this project, feeling an overwhelming sense of responsibility and apprehension, set about their work immediately. At their first meeting, the youngest of the three suggested they might place an ad in the national press, or even tweet about it asking for submissions. The oldest suggested they go on a retreat together with hand-picked etymologists, philosophers, and linguists, in other words experts, to brain-storm. The woman on the team suggested they search online catalogues for words no longer in use. Words written on tablets and papyri, words from extinct languages. For weeks they discussed the relationship between words and the worlds they described; words and the worlds they gave rise to. Forbidden words, or overused words that lost their meaning. As a result of intense deliberations, a special linguistic search engine was built capable of scouring for lost words. It didn’t take long for results to start coming in. The first word to be returned was ‘love’.

cracked earth
last year’s seedling
yet to sprout

Frogpond 40:3,  p.63, 2017

‘End Note’ in Haibun Today

Haibun Today The handwritten letter is long, the paper creased, stained. The stamps on the envelope, though, are glued perfectly straight, indicating help with the posting. It takes me time to decipher the spidery handwriting infested with blank spaces, as if the sender had taken breaks in between. I stumble repeatedly, especially after the first couple of sentences, when the handwriting grows smaller.

What are you trying to say, I want to ask him. Why didn’t you phone me? I reach for the phone, then stop myself. He wanted me to read this letter. I take off my glasses and bring the paper close to my face. I see better now, and I can smell the paper. A sweet fragrance mixed with acetone.

day lilies
at the hospice . . .
wilting

In Twos

Gnarled Oak, Haibun, Her glasses are on the night table. Propped up on two cushions, she is asleep, her mouth half-open, a bubble of saliva shifting on her lip with every breath. The ceiling fan purrs. A quiet room, otherwise. Tiptoeing near her bed I see a tiny fly approach her face. As if sensing it, she raises her arm, brushing against her forehead. I stop breathing. But she continues in her sleep, as if she is on a journey and this moment that just passed was but a momentary stop, a blip, a slight distraction.

no one
in the mirror
night of ghosts

*

In Gnarled Oak 30 November 2017

 

‘Of This World’ and ‘Ekphrasis’

Looking back on 2017 I am very pleased with these two books: ‘Of This World: 48 Haibun’ (Red Moon Press, 2017), and ‘Ekphrasis: Between Image and Word’  in collaboration with Maria Pierides (Fruit Dove Press, 2017).

If you have liked any of the books please think of adding a review or a few stars on Amazon.

If you haven’t read them and you’d like to purchase a copy, please contact me via the contact form here, or Fruit Dove Press for ‘Ekphrasis’.

For copies ‘Of This World’: Amazon UK 

Amazon DE 

USA: Red Moon Press

Of This World, Ekphrasis,

The British Haiku Society Awards 2017

The British Haiku Society has just announced the opening of their annual Haiku, Tanka and Haibun Awards 2017! And with this, the judges for the different categories. I am honoured and excited to be invited to judge the Haibun category.

This year, the award for this category is named the “Ken and Noragh Jones Haibun Award”, honouring the two great poets and long-standing members of the BHS.

The competition is open to both members of the Society and non-members, from all over the world. Please click here for details. Deadline for submissions 31st January 2018.

‘Of This World’ Frogpond review

Pleased to see a very positive review of my latest book of haibun Of This World appear in Frogpond, the Journal of The Haiku Society of America (Spring/Summer 2017, v. 40:2, pp. 115-116). Grateful to Randy Brooks for his review and generous comments:

Stella Pierides is an accomplished fiction writer as well as poet, which is evident from the careful crafting of narrators’ voices throughout Of This World: 48 Haibun. Some haibun writers load their prose with dense imagery such that it resembles a prose poem, followed by a prosaic haiku. However, in Pierides’ haibun, each haiku extends, not merely repeats, what has already been expressed in the prose. I also like the layout of this collection, with all haibun presented in the recto pages, and the verso pages blank.This layout gives the reader space and time to settle in with one haibun at time. With a variety of approaches and topics, it is clear that Of This World is not a collection of haibun “about me” but rather a collection that asks us to consider, ponder, reflect, and see things in a new light. It is a collection of narrator voices, positioning us to see the human condition, and allowing us to enter into each perspective. Her varyous narrators let us establish a relationship with each unique voice, and depending on the voice and topic, this allows us to construct our own imaginary closeness and distance. One of my favorite haibun is “Replacement Child,” which starts with the refrain, “If you are a replacement child, you are born to parents hoping to heal the loss of a child who died earlier” and ends with the haiku old photos / the dust / never settles. This is an outstanding collection of haibun worthy of study and imitation by those seeking to better understand this literary art.

Available from:
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2iSwXA2
Amazon DE: http://amzn.to/2iT7PJx
Red Moon Press, USA: http://bit.ly/2jebbD7

Of This World,haibun,

‘Of This World’ review in Blithe Spirit

Thrilled to discover in the pages of Blithe Spirit, (vol. 27.2, 2017) Journal of the British Haiku Society, a wonderful review of my book!
I quote:
‘overall impression is Brilliant!’; ‘many a gem’; ‘words that weigh you down with the truth in them’; ‘I can confidently say that it has the navarasas (the nine emotions in Indian aesthetics)’.
A big thank you to the editor, Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy.
Of This World
Of This World is available from
Amazon Europe: http://amzn.to/2iT7PJx
Red Moon Press, USA: http://bit.ly/2jebbD7

‘Fish Bowl’ in KF7

 

The simulation hypothesis is not new. The idea that we are being held inside a complete, self-sustaining simulated biosphere, observed, and made to believe it is real has precedents in earlier times. Tweaking the basic idea here and there, we can trace it to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave: chained prisoners presented with mere shadows of the real world take them to be the real thing and refuse to believe otherwise. Plato sowed the seed of doubt in the world of experience. Can we ever go beyond the chains of our existence and into the light of the sun? And at what price? Is our existence woven with elements of both, sun and shadows, reason and fantasy, fact and fiction?

Millennia later, we are still wondering. But here, now, with the Church tower bell ringing the hours, sunlight throwing the olives on the table into relief, and grilled sardines scenting the air, the question whether this is the real world can wait.

silver leaves—
the ebb and flow
of time

.

KYSO Flash Issue 7: Spring 2017

 

‘Out of This World’ in Haibun Today

Out of This World

Haibun Today

In the deepest of dark nights, the idea that we may be living in a computer simulation created by a higher intelligence appeals to me. I muse over the possibility that we may be simulated beings living in a ghost world without realising it!

What if the simulation hypothesis were true? What if we really lived in a version of Plato’s Cave: unable to see beyond the projections on the wall of our senses, we became captives of our perceptions. How would we ever be free? Would there be a way out? Even if a wise philosopher, daring scientist, or escaped prisoner were to tell us of the real world outside our cave generating the projections, we wouldn’t believe them.

Assuming there’d be some way out of the simulation, in those sleepless nights I think of possible glitches in the system, devise tests. This is my latest: try watching pools fill with rain, the noon slide towards evening, the inexhaustible torment of the sea: if you can bear their beauty, be well. If you can’t, you are sure to be out of this world.

revving up the engine
despite the rain
because of it

In Haibun Today Volume 11, Number 1, March 2017

‘Touching’ bringing poetry & science together

Touching

Imagine your left hand is being made to feel a brief vibration and you’re being asked to estimate how long this vibration lasts. In one version of this scenario, you are holding a small ball in both hands; in another, your right hand is free. And in both versions, you see a safely suspended, potentially catchable ball moving towards you.

Would your estimate of the vibration duration be the same in both versions, or would it be different? Scientists tell us that we overestimate the duration of the vibration when our right hand is free.

Of This WorldSurprised? The scenario may sound unlikely, but all for a good reason: the investigation of the experience of tactile time. Perhaps unlike other bodily times, touch time appears as if time slowed. Your hand is free and ready to interact with the possibilities of a touchable object. The present moment gathers momentum: memories, anticipations, balance, co-ordination, visual cues… the time your father threw you a ball to catch, your sister’s expert throw, your playful nature entertaining the idea to catch the ball and surprise the scientists… Time slows for the possibilities; time slows with possibilities. The ‘touch’ body and the ‘touch’ mind ready themselves for the game.

infinity
a deer appears at the edge
of the woods
*

Bringing poetry and science together!

This haibun is from my new book Of This World (Red Moon Press, 2017) and appears on the LMU site MSense .

Of This World is also available @ Amazon  Germany and the UK

‘Touching’

Serendipity! On the day I was informed that my haibun Touching —inspired by a scientific project carried out at LMU university Munich — would be featured on the LMU website, I came across an article in the New Statesman discussing the close relationship between poetry and science!

Take a look: the haibun Touching, included in my new book Of This World (Red Moon Press, 2017), at the LMU here and here and the New Statesman article here

LMU, MSense lab,psychology,

OK, may be not so much serendipity, as I often check out writings about the relationship between poetry and science, and have even contributed to a couple of papers on precisely this matter. The papers are forthcoming, watch this space …

Greek Dinner Around the World and Food for Thought

Each year around the 15th of January, Greek Dinner Around The World Day, I am reminded of The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus (624 – 546 BC), who is credited with the saying,

A sound mind in a sound body

How true! Research from many scientific disciplines has been confirming Thales’ saying ever since. Encouraging us to take up exercise of all sorts to keep the blood moving, arteries in good nick, and prevent harmful tangles from forming in the brain, scientists have gone out of their way to emphasise prevention. In this endeavour,  the Mediterranean diet  has been a major pillar, oiling the wheels of the temple to the mind!

Greek Dinner, Of This World,

In the context of this close relationship between physical exercise, bodily well-being, mental equilibrium, and the ability to enjoy life, you can imagine the enthusiasm with which I am taking part in this global event.

Admittedly, the main goal is wider: to celebrate Greek culture, Greek cuisine as it is known in every part of the globe, and promote the people, authors, chefs, travel and other businesses connected to Greece. Partners to this initiative host a dinner using Greek products and Greek dishes, share experiences and photos of their event, and tweet using the hashtags #GreekDinner, #GreekDinnerAroundTheWorld, and #EatGreek.

This year I took part by sharing a delicious Greek meal with friends and family. And books, of course. We met at an old favourite restaurant and I brought my latest book, Of This World (Red Moon Press, 2017) — a collection of haibun (prose with poetry) with several poems on Greek themes / settings — to the table.

The food was exceptionally good – the company excellent. The only problem was the usual problem: we all ate a little too much. Like every year, we were reminded that after a point, the amount of food, and drink, interfere with both body and mind! Once again we resolved to follow another Greek saying: the Aristotelian

Παν μέτρον άριστον, i.e., Everything in moderation

Many thanks to Keri Douglas for her tireless efforts in promoting this event.

και του χρονου
and if you are interested in a copy of my new book:

Amazon UK

Amazon Germany

Red Moon Press (USA)

‘Of This World,’ released by Red Moon Press!

Delighted to announce that Red Moon Press just released my haibun collection, Of This World

Of This World

Stella Pierides has cultivated a terse, idiosyncratic style in her haibun that is instantly recognizable, and as a consequence is one of the shining lights of this burgeoning genre. Of This World certainly is, but it also takes us out of the world at large and into private spaces we feel privileged to witness. A unique and satisfying read.

 

Red Moon Press
Amazon Europe
Amazon UK

I am grateful for the generous comments:

This is how it’s done! Stella Pierides — in a hushed voice — takes me through what it is to be human — and part of the human history from the roots of Western culture in Diogenes’ tub to the ‘modern’ human — with all the questions and doubts, the uncertainties that come from that.

— Johannes S. H. Bjerg, Writer

Of This World’s marvelous, emotionally resonant haibun are steeped in the grace of the garden, rooted in a physical reality so sensuous that you can smell the fragrance of baking bread, of olives and garlic, of lemon and magnolia blossoms — and yet they also spiral on the updraft of metaphor as poet Stella Pierides ‘put[s] our hearts in the shoes of the hummingbird.’

— Clare MacQueen, Editor-in-Chief, KYSO Flash

A treasure trove of language and image. Pierides walks through dark streets of history, through alleyways of memory – emerging in shiny, unexpected places. Compact, urgent and closely observant, these minute offerings will captivate readers of both poetry and short fiction. An enormously engaging collection.

— Michelle Elvy, Writer and Editor

*
Of This World
ISBN: 978-1-936848-80-5
Pages: 124
Size: 6″ x 9″
Binding: perfect softbound

‘Being Remembered’ in Haibun Today

Being Remembered

Salting is one of the oldest methods of preserving food. Fish, meats, cheeses, cabbage, olives have been cured, brined, pickled to protect them from fungi, bacteria, and other harmful organisms, and thus keep them fresh for longer. Still, it comes as a surprise to read of one more entity to be preserved in salt: memory.

A project titled Memory of Mankind aims to preserve humankind’s most precious milestones by engraving them on special ceramic tablets, and then storing them in salt-lined vaults deep in the Austrian mountains. Small tokens engraved with a map pointing to the archive’s location, and other information helping our descendants decipher the tablets, will be strategically buried around the globe. And what will future generations find to define us? The article suggests sacred texts, treatises, classics, scientific articles, images of buildings, paintings, musical scores. And individual histories, family albums, recipes.

My list would include my daughters’ photos and paintings, multiple drafts of a haibun, favorite poems, a pin cushion and thimble, an amber komboloi, an oil lamp, a pot of basil; my grandmother’s piece of the Holy Cross, the sound of the sea . . ..

family supper
the same joke for
the umpteenth time

.

In Haibun Today Volume 10, Number 4, December 2016

Memory of Mankind website

 

 

 

 

The Path

The Path

Painting,The Path,haibun,Maria Pierides,haiku,Port Isaac,Amorgos,

 

 

At the top of the stairway snaking up the hill, a white-washed chapel and an olive tree. Blinding sunlight. Some way to go yet. The stony stairs are narrow, a couple of hands-width before the cliff falls steeply into the sea.

Slow down, there’s no hurry. Take a deep breath. Feel the rough warmth of the rock. The wind beating against it raises the fragrance of sage, of thyme and marjoram to the skies, erases the silence.

marble wings—
in the distance
windmill ruins

Feel the salt on your lips, the urgent wind tussling your hair.

This history book under your arm, so well-thumbed, leave it here, against that rock, someone coming after you might linger, take a look.

pillars of salt—
propping her foot
on a stone

And the pebble from Amorgos you kept in your pocket all those years, add it to the cairn over there, where the path widens. Let it go. The trail is moments like this, following the light, teetering on the edge of your desires, of your sorrows.

That bench at the top, see it now, under the olive tree? This is your goal. You can rest there. Wise, gentle Persephone will hold your hand.

embalming my tongue
I rest in the shadow
of the silver-leaved olive

Author’s commentary:

stella-pieridesHaving left Greece in my youth, I keep returning to it in my writing, visiting and revisiting the landmarks and landscapes of the country.

Time has a different texture in and about Greece. Sculptures solidifying the past appear at every corner, at every museum: looming, teasing, reminding. Accompanying us into the future. There’s no escaping the sculptures, the poets know it:

“… I woke with this marble head in my hands;
it exhausts my elbow and I don’t know where to put it down.”

Seferis, Mythistorema 

and

Ritsos approaches the sculptures from different, mythical angles, turning the people and landscape into eternal presences:

“…Nowadays, we don’t think much
about Theseus, the Minotaur, Ariadne on the beach
at Naxos, staring out at the coming years.
But people still dance that dance: just common folk,
those criss-cross steps that no one had to teach,
at weddings and wakes, in bars or parks,
as if hope and heart could meet, as if they might
even now, somehow, dance themselves out of the dark.”

Ritsos, The Crane Dance

In The Path, honoring these roots, I try to present this aspect of my Greek inheritance. I fail, of course, but proud to be trying.

Painting “Golden Light, Port Isaac” by Maria Pierides

In Blue Fifth Review, Broadside #44 Fall 2016